Last week I discussed the ongoing debate around the use of paid links for SEO. As I noted, there seems to be a growing consensus that the use of paid links is a risky proposition.

Most SEOs, even those who still utilize paid links, tend to agree - building links the old-fashioned way (i.e. earning them) is the best long-term approach.

What are the most effective ways to do this? Here are 5 techniques that can be highly-effective.

  • Link to others. What goes around comes around. If you link to third party websites that provide valuable content that is beneficial to your visitors, those websites are more likely to link back to you.

    While it's important not to go overboard (doing so can actually hurt your Google PageRank, for instance) not linking out is an SEO sin to be avoided.

  • Offer quality content. It should go without saying but publishers are going to link to content that they believe is of value to their visitors. Thus quality content is the best way to obtain inbound links. Whether you're a web designer or an attorney, the best way to produce quality content is to leverage your knowledge and skills to offer information, advice and opinions that are relevant to the individuals you serve or the industry you're involved with.

    Remember: most websites are a relatively static affair. The less frequently you're updating your website, the harder it is to produce quality, timely content that others are going to want to link to. As such, it's important to consider ways you can create more opportunities to provide new content.

  • Blog. A blog is one of the easiest and most effective ways to create a more dynamic website. With robust (and free) blog publishing platforms such as WordPress and Movable Type that can be set up with relative ease or hosted by a third party on your behalf, it's easy to publish the great content you produce without having to be a techie.

    One of the best things about blogging is the 'trackback'. Most blogging platforms will automatically 'ping' the blogs that you link to, letting them know that you've linked to them. In my experience, this often results in your blog getting on the radar of the blogs you link to and increases the likelihood of links back at some point.

  • Build relationships. Nobody is going to want to link to your website if it doesn't offer quality content but nobody is going to know about your website if they don't know who you are.

    Just as networking can mean the difference between struggling to drum up business and having the problem of clients and customers beating down your door, it can also mean the difference between struggling to acquire inbound links and having everybody linking to you.

    Whether you're networking offline at conferences, trade shows and mixers or online using social media services like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, the individuals you build relationships with can become your best friends when it comes to link building.

    Blogging and networking can be a potent combination; once you have a decent virtual Rolodex, it's easy to send your contacts links to blog posts you publish that you know would be of interest to them. Inevitably, some are likely to link to you on their own websites and blogs.

  • Maximize the inbound links you already have. How other websites link to you is often just as important as them linking to you. An interesting post on the SEOmoz Blog last week suggested that publishers monitor inbound links and, where appropriate, reach out to those providing those links to request changes that may be more helpful.

    From asking for better anchor text to linking to a more appropriate page, there's no guarantee that your request will be respected, but if you don't ask, you can't receive. Remember that most of the time, third party websites aren't linking to you in less-than-optimal ways intentionally - they're doing so because their publishers aren't familiar with SEO and linking best practices.

Link building is often a challenging task but as paid links become more risky, the start of the year is the perfect time to refocus on long-term link building by implementing some of the techniques described here.
Patricio Robles

Published 12 January, 2009 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Comments (5)


Eli the Link Builder

Kudos on the whitest white hat post there is.  Working as a link builder professionaly, I very much agree with your supposition that the best links come from one's own content.  I think in the future, as paid linking becomes more easily dismissed and NoFollow gains even more steam, that most of one's linking strategy will have to become an on-site affair, just trying to come up with memorable and valuable content.  Technically, that's a lot of what link building should be, but since there have been so many other ways to rank in the past, the right way was largely overlooked.

over 9 years ago


Charles Montgomery

This information is excellent. It allows you to have a one stop shop website to come to to get all the information you need to effective link building. 

over 8 years ago



These are great tips for building backlinks. I would only add that a great way to build networks is to offer help to other websites whenever you see the need. Another site you like coming out with an eBook? Offer to write a review. Stuff like that...

over 8 years ago


john stiller

good peice of information presented here, you can use some of theres uorces to build links to your website, however bare in mind when you are building links do not expect all of the links to show up immediatly, it can take about 2 months atleast.

over 8 years ago


Webmaster City

Good article! but what about directory submissions? You could submit your website/blog to several hundred high page ranking directories and get quite a few good links!

over 7 years ago

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